'Run, Forrest, run!' 20 years later, we're still catching up with 'Forrest Gump'

Image: Tom Hanks in "Forrest Gump"
Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

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By Ree Hines
"Run, Forrest, run!" Tom Hanks got a workout in 1994's "Forrest Gump."Today

Sunday marks 20 years since "Forrest Gump" first brought the story of a simple man who lived an anything-but-simple life to the big screen. But long after the sentimental, Oscar-winning dramedy left theaters, elements of the story stuck around in the American consciousness.

"For some reason, what I was doing seemed to make sense to people," Forrest (Tom Hanks) said as he sat on a park bench telling his life's tale.

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Two decades later, it still makes sense.

'Run, Forrest, run!'
Whether you've seen the film or not, you likely know those three little words. It was the plea young Forrest heard from his then-pal (later-wife) Jenny when bullies were hot on his heels. It prompted him to run right out of his leg braces and into a long-distance story arc.

Later, that line prompted everyone else's real-life pals to yell it at them — as motivation, entertainment and occasionally, as good-natured sarcasm. "Run, Forrest, run!" is firmly in the pop culture lexicon, and it shows no signs of slowing down.



Mama knows best
Of course, that sure-footed phrase was hardly the only quote from the film to leave a lasting impact. In fact, as Forrest sat on his bio bench, he rattled off a long list of still-memorable gems from his dearly-departed mother (Sally Field).


"Mama says, 'Stupid is as stupid does.'"

"My mama was always telling me that miracles happen every day. Some people don't think so, but they do."

"Mama always said, 'You've got to put the past behind you before you can move on.'"

"Mama said, 'There's only so much fortune a man really needs, and the rest is just for showing off.'"

"Mama always said dying was a part of life. I sure wish it wasn't."

And, of course:

"My mama always said, 'Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.'"

'Coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew…'
If you need solid proof of the lasting legacy of "Forrest Gump," just take a look at the real-world restaurant it spawned.


On-screen, Forrest and friend Lt. Dan (Gary Sinise) launched Bubba Gump Shrimp, Co. in memory of their fallen, shrimp-obsessed army pal Bubba (Mykelti Williamson). Off-screen, just two years after the film introduced the idea, the first Bubba Gump Shrimp, Co. restaurant opened its doors.

Today it's a chain with 39 restaurants worldwide.

Pop culture rewind
"Forrest Gump's" impact goes beyond the quaint catchphrases and seafood dining that are still with us today. The blockbuster ushered in a new era of advanced CGI special effects that convincingly allowed the title hero to pop up all over pop culture's past.

The award-winning movie magic, which put fictional Forrest right alongside the likes of John Lennon and President John F. Kennedy, still stands the test of time.

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